Portland beacons: Meridian plays critical role in the release of Aruba Beacons and Levi's Stadium implementation

Transitioning from a services company can often be a difficult—if not downright impossible—change, even if it’s from services to a virtual product. Let alone a physical product. But Portland’s Meridian—now part of Aruba Networks—has managed to make that change with spectacular results. Transitioning from Spotlight Mobile to Meridian to heading up efforts on Aruba’s new beacon technology. And all right here from Portland.

And they got a pretty big stage to debut the technology: Levi’s Stadium, home of the 49ers.

To come back to the news at hand, I spoke with Aruba/Meridian’s Jeff Hardison for a bit of the history on the new development, but also to understand how this is working in the stadium.

Jeff explained to me that after Apple announced they were sun-setting MAC address Wi-Fi triangulation (which was the indoor positioning technique Aruba/Meridian relied on at the time), the two companies decided to adopt new Apple iBeacon standards and build their own beacons so they could control their system more thoroughly. The result of this decision allowed them to create two different kinds of hardware beacons, a new adjacent Wi-Fi system, and a remote software management console to control them all. One of their beacons comes with a built-in, 1.5 to two-year battery and the other is just a small USB stick beacon that plugs in for power.

“From a technology perspective, it is imperative that we engineered a network infrastructure that not only delivered ultra-fast connectivity to tens of thousands of fans’ mobile devices, but also provided a mobile engagement experience like none other,” said Dan Williams, Vice President of Technology for the San Francisco 49ers, the team that provided the technology infrastructure and mobile app to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority’s project. “By partnering with Brocade for switching and Aruba for mobility, we were able to blaze new ground and create a platform that gave our fans the experience of a personal game day command center in the palm of their hands. Fans can now watch instant replays, receive precise turn-by-turn navigation, and order food directly from their mobile devices. Visitors get to experience the facility and game like never before by greatly enhancing their onsite experience.”

For more information, see the Aruba news on TechCrunch or see the Meridian blog post on Aruba Beacons.